I Cook dinner Meals accuses Professor Brett Sutton of performing ‘recklessly’ in compensation bid

September 2, 2023by Naomi Cramer


A catering firm has accused former chief well being officer Brett Sutton of destroying his enterprise by unlawfully ordering its closure, a court has been instructed.

On the final day of what has been labelled the “slug-gate” trial, lawyers performing for I Cook dinner Meals have urged Supreme Court Justice Michael McDonald to seek out Dr Sutton acted “recklessly”.

The Dandenong South enterprise, which had operated for 35 years, was issued a public well being order to quickly shut in 2019 following the demise of Jean Painter, 86.

Ms Painter, a affected person at Knox Personal Hospital, was believed to have contracted listeria from an allegedly contaminated sandwich offered by I Cook dinner Meals.

COURT- SLUG GATE
Digicam IconI Cook dinner founder Ian Cook dinner is suing for compensation, arguing his enterprise was destroyed by the order. NCA NewsWire/ Luis Ascui Credit score: Information Corp Australia

On Friday, counsel for I Cook dinner Meals, Marcus Clarke KC stated the enterprise, which equipped meals to 10 hospitals in Melbourne alongside aged care services and Meals on Wheels, misplaced its contracts and was “destroyed” by the publicity surrounding the general public well being order.

I Cook dinner Meals is suing Victoria’s Division of Well being for $50m, arguing the closure was illegal and invalid and that Dr Sutton couldn’t have been glad there was a danger to public well being.

Dr Sutton, then-Victoria’s performing chief well being officer, issued an order for the enterprise to shut shortly after 10pm on February 21, 2019.

I Cook dinner Meals was served the discover at 4am the next day and was compelled to destroy greater than 10 tonnes of meals.

The court was instructed when Dr Sutton made the order, preliminary testing confirmed six of seven samples of meals taken from I Cook dinner Meals had detected traces of the micro organism which causes listeria.

Officers from the Metropolis of Larger Dandenong had additionally inspected the premises, ordering the enterprise to take steps to treatment what it deemed an unsanitary and unclean office.

Covid-19 Press Conference
Digicam IconProfessor Brett Sutton defended his actions, saying he was involved a few listeria outbreak and wanted to behave with an abundance of warning. NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie Credit score: Information Corp Australia

Within the order, Dr Sutton stated he couldn’t be assured the enterprise’s kitchen was appropriate for meals manufacturing and there was a potential danger to the well being of hundreds of susceptible folks.

The court was instructed he was “devastated” to make the order, understanding the impression it will have on the enterprise and its staff however felt the necessity to act urgently.

On Friday Mr Clarke stated it was later decided Ms Painter had died from a number of small coronary heart assaults and her Listeria an infection was “incidental to demise”.

He instructed the court additional testing of the listeria samples taken from I Cook dinner Meals discovered the amount of the bacterium was under public well being tips and was “protected and appropriate”.

He argued the enterprise and its founder, Ian Cook dinner, suffered “important” reputational harm from the order, alleging Dr Sutton dedicated misfeasance by not ready for additional take a look at outcomes.

“Dr Sutton recklessly proceeded with out ready for the numeration, opposite to the recommendation he was given,” he stated.

He claimed Dr Sutton had “already made up his thoughts” and couldn’t have been glad to the requisite normal that there was a danger to public well being.

SLUG TRUCK
Digicam IconMr Cook dinner (left) has lengthy demanded solutions as to why his enterprise was closed. NCA NewsWire / Paul Jeffers Credit score: Information Corp Australia

Mr Clarke claimed Dr Sutton didn’t observe the legislation when ordering the enterprise be shuttered and breached Mr Cook dinner’s “pure justice” proper to contest the allegations.

He argued Justice McDonald ought to discover Dr Sutton, who was grilled in court concerning the choice in mid-August, was an “unreliable witness”.

Well being Division lawyer Christopher Caleo KC submitted the proof indicated Dr Sutton had “rigorously” addressed his statutory obligation and the order was lawfully performed in an try to guard the neighborhood.

Mr Caleo argued there was no obligation to supply Mr Cook dinner an opportunity to answer issues, saying the choice was to permit doubtlessly contaminated meals to be produced and distributed.

The long-running authorized struggle was dubbed “Slug Gate” within the media over allegations a Metropolis of Larger Dandenong well being inspector planted a backyard slug in I Cook dinner Meals’ kitchen.

The Metropolis of Larger Dandenong was initially additionally named as a defendant within the declare, however the matter was settled outdoors of court earlier than the trial started on August 2.

Justice McDonald reserved his choice on the civil swimsuit and can hand down his judgment at a later date.



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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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